The Wisdom of Solomon

The story of Solomon asking the Lord for wisdom prompted me to think Solomon’s motivations. Here he was the King of Israel, after a less than simple rise to power. He was not the first-born son of David and therefore, expectations from other family members didn’t match what David wanted.

Scholars disagree about Solomon’s age when he became king, but Solomon’s own words in I Kings 3:7 indicate something to me.  When the LORD appeared to Solomon and told him to ask for whatever he wanted, Solomon called himself a “little child.” Whether he was actually a young man – teenager/young adult – or an older adult, a truth stood out to me about his words.

  1. Humility – He recognized his position and God’s and acknowledged that God’s faithfulness to David and his family. He later states that “he doesn’t know how to go out or come in.” vs. 7
  2. Responsibility – In verse 8 he states that he is a leader of a great multitude and knew the gravity of the situation. The greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility.
  3. Example – He recognized his Father’s godly example because he mentions that David “walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness and in uprightness of heart toward you.” Despite David’s failings, Solomon knew that David valued his relationship with the LORD and walked obediently.

Solomon then asked for wisdom. Acknowledging the need for discretion and discernment in dealing with the people he was responsible for, he wanted the capability to tap into the endless supply of wisdom that only God could provide.

Struck by the truth that God’s wisdom was what Solomon most desired, I had to run a quick assessment in my own heart. So many times, I am anxious to run ahead and “handle” daily life. Not necessarily the big decisions – those seem easier to acknowledge I need God’s wisdom for. It’s the minutiae of daily decisions that I struggle with sometimes. Solomon’s example though was one of humility. He acknowledged that he didn’t naturally possess the wisdom to be a great leader and he wanted to lead well. He knew the responsibility was ginormous, and that David’s example of obedience to the LORD resulted in blessing.

Of course, this is not the only example of asking for wisdom in the Bible. There are plenty of examples from the Old and New testaments, but I love how James reminds us in chapter 1, that if we lack wisdom, we need to ask for it and know that our faithful father is willing to give it liberally, abundantly and doesn’t hold back. We don’t need to be kings or queens, we have access to him as His children to humbly approach and ask for the wisdom we need no matter the situation great or small.

Now isn’t that the encouragement we all need each day?

Saying Yes When You’d Rather Say No

by Angela Jamison

While I was basking in the Friday afternoon quiet before the kids arrived home from school, my phone rang. I had plans to sleep in the next day as well as enjoy the freedom that comes with having nothing on the calendar, but the caller quickly thwarted those plans when they asked for a favor. Not a favor of insignificance, but a favor of the magnitude that would claim my entire day, cost me money and be rather exhausting.

I wanted to say no.

I wanted to say no and sleep in. I wanted to say no and go to the pool or stay in my pajamas until noon. I wanted to say no, but the word “absolutely” came out instead.

After I made the commitment, the phrase “the hands and feet of Jesus” ran through my head. It was incessant, evading the possibility of grasping for understanding. I mumbled it out loud, wrote it down and became frustrated with my inability to see the significance of the phrase in my current day.

Then someone said to me, “You are being the hands and feet of Jesus and even if the situation does not go as planned, you have to know that those around you are seeing Jesus in you.”

I’m the hands and feet of Jesus. You are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. I’ve used the phrase before and even said it to my own children, but it never felt so powerful.

What exactly does it mean to be the hands and feet of Jesus, though? We easily think of cliche Christian volunteerism like feeding the homeless or going on mission trips and although those things are important and necessary, they’re directly linked to church and not our mundane every day lives.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1Peter 4:10 NIV

In our daily grind it is much more difficult to actively be the hands and feet of Jesus. We get tied up in work, school, kids, ball games, traffic and stress and we simply ignore the call to serve others. We relate the phrase to the big to-dos of volunteering like described above and we miss the ever-present, simple opportunities to share Jesus’ love. We often say no because life is overwhelming and the reality is, we should say yes.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus is saying yes when you’d rather say no.

It’s hard! Believe me, I recognize the difficulty as I struggle to balance four children, a full time job and writing on the side. We can all claim understanding as each of our lives has its own plethora of struggles, but if we all continue saying no, what happens to the body of Christ?

Nothing.

Nothing happens to the body of Christ. It does not grow and He is not glorified.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus does not have to be an over-the-top act. It simply needs to be a genuine desire to show the love of our Savior. My moment of obedience came from a day trip that I’d rather not have taken. It came from saying yes when I wanted to say no.

Your moment of obedience may come from helping someone who has wronged you when you’d rather see them struggle or taking an extra minute to hold the door for a stranger when you’re already running late.

God does not call us to always be extravagant, He calls us to be obedient.

Today, I pray that you are presented the opportunity to be obedient, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I pray you choose to say yes even if you really want to say no.


 

headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

 After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

Read more of Angela’s writing and journey at www.angelajamison.com

Monday Mornings for Moms

My children all were once so small,

Now they are so very tall.

Some days were long and filled with tears,

Others filled with laughter now passed in years.

The seasons come, the seasons go

As we drive them to and fro.

Lean in sweet mama and hear me say,

“You’ve got just one job to do today.”

Love them hard and love them well,

Listen to each tale they tell.

Soon you’ll miss this precious face,

Respond to the challenge filled with grace.

They won’t remember each meal you make,

But they will recall the time you take,

To help them feel special and safe,

because of the smiles you share and the love you display.

By Victoria Duerstock

©2018

40 Days of Decreasing Mom Guilt

by Angela Jamison

Mom guilt, the sinking feeling deep in your gut that you’re completely failing your children, scarring them for life and certainly destroying their future. The desperation to do everything right in your attempt to raise decent human beings. Mom guilt, the plague that attacks each and every one of us at some point in our lives regardless of the age of our children.

If you read that first paragraph and don’t connect with my definitions of mom guilt, kudos to you! Unfortunately though, I think more of you than not will be nodding your head in agreement. Mom guilt is something we don’t ask for, but oftentimes receive in abundance. The worst part – it’s self-inflicted!

As I thought about the Lenten season and how I can spend forty days growing closer to God, I thought about my mom guilt. Mom guilt decreases the joy I should be experiencing, takes my eyes off the One who gifted my precious children and does not honor the job I’ve been designed to do.

As many of you give up chocolate, soda or donate a piece of clothing each day, I am spending my forty days decreasing the mom guilt. I’ve created a list of ten ways to help decrease mom guilt and slowly but surely, I hope to find myself embracing the call of motherhood with more joy. Slowly but surely you can too!

  • Believe you are doing a good job. It’s wonderful to be told from time to time that we are doing great at this motherhood gig, but you need to actually believe it. Trust your instincts, root your actions in love and believe in yourself. God designed you for this path.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. The dishes in the sink, laundry on the counter and floors that haven’t been vacuumed do not define you; they are not the indicator of your success or failure.
  • Take a break from Pinterest (and social media). Comparison is an instigator for mom guilt!
  • Create an identity outside of your children. It is ok (and healthy!) to have a passion or hobby outside of your children. Allow yourself the freedom to be more than a mom.
  • Take a deep breath, walk away, respond. When we allow our emotions to run freely, we overact. Overreaction leads to delayed mom guilt when we’ve come down from the moment and realize we just needed to breathe.
  • Do the chores … or don’t. These moments with your children are fleeting, enjoy them. The chores can wait, but on the flip side, it’s a necessary evil and doing housework doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your children.
  • Find a balance. Your balance will be different from mine and from your best friend; it will be uniquely yours. When you find it, hold tight and know life is a constant juggling act and you will occasionally drop a ball or two. That’s ok!
  • Check your expectations. We often have high expectations of ourselves that leak over into the expectations for our children. We need to remember they are in fact just children learning how to navigate the tricky waters of this world.
  • Limit multi-tasking. Multi-tasking has become our enemy as we try to accomplish more than one thing at a time. We then find ourselves in a rut of mediocrity instead of a cloud of accomplishment. I say limit because eliminating would be nearly impossible, however, we can be conscious of concentrating on one thing at a time, specifically when it comes to listening and spending time with our children.
  • Have grace. Motherhood is not for the weak of heart! Grace for yourself and for your children is imperative. You won’t be perfect and neither will they, but offering grace allows you to continue and try again.

Motherhood is difficult enough without the added baggage of mom guilt we tend to carry around in our handbag. We need the grace and love of ourselves as much as we do that of our perfect Father. I pray the next forty days allows you to focus on the beauty of the job God designed for you, drawing you closer to Him through the decreasing of your mom guilt.

You are doing a good job! Believe it.

Rainy Days and Long Winters

I think often of the change of seasons and how it relates so intricately with our lives.  We seem to just get settled into Spring around here and boom it’s Summer! Let me tell you in Northwest Mississippi you know when summer hits.  The seasons come and go, and our lives seem to ebb and flow with the same motion. Young adults who get married, work jobs, have children, raise children, retirees, etc. The seasons move along and before we know it the time has gone and we wonder how it happened so quickly.

All except winter that is…winter lasts FOREVER. Or at least it feels that way every February.  This Florida transplant still struggles with February and I try so hard not to let the weather get me down, but it’s hard when it’s nothing but rain and gray skies.

Have you found yourself feeling the same? Why do all of the other seasons fly by while Winter drags by slow and stale.  It hasn’t helped  that the last couple weeks have brought their share of minor struggles.  You know the little things that accumulate and make you discouraged or disheartened along the way.  It’s easy to become distracted and encumbered with those weights but even as Paul encouraged us to “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb.12:1) My challenge is to do this in the midst of the rain and cold.

When things are smooth sailing, I find this task much easier to do! But the task is not only to be managed in the easy season, it’s also for the Winter of the year and the soul. When we are parched, and raw and yearning for the warmth of the Sun and the Son, we have only to remember those words from Lamentations and know that by His mercy which is new every morning, we can do exactly the job God has for us each day. The purpose that we are here to fulfill on this earth, the precise reason for our living and breathing and moving.

If you find yourself struggling today with the burdens of this life, I pray you’ll turn to the One who bears all our burdens with us, and treasure the promise of the seasons – they are not forever, the next season is right around the corner.

 

Life Lessons with Lightning McQueen

by Angela Jamison

When my youngest son was three, he was introduced to Lightning McQueen. From the first meeting, they were best of friends and he is still attached to him five years later. It’s one of the longest toy loves in my household.

My son still has numerous different McQueens – from wind up to color changing, mini to stuffed. It’s safe to say that you can find a Lightning McQueen in any given room of the house.

As with many things from when the kids were young, I’ve forgotten a lot of the turmoil that came with this Lightning McQueen love. I had forgotten the incessant watching of the movie and the hours long searches for exactly the right McQueen.

Today, this picture appeared in my memories.Picture1

This picture is a snapshot of my life just a few years ago. Here is my son, in his Lightning McQueen shirt, with eleven Lightning McQueens in reach. He’s panicking here because, “I can’t find Lightning!”

He couldn’t find Lightning McQueen…

To this day, this picture makes me smile. There are obvious Lightning McQueens right in front of him, yet he’s still searching, unsatisfied.

How often does this very picture represent us in any given aspect of our lives? How often does God lay out our desires right in front of us yet we continue searching unsatisfied?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4 NIV

God intends to give us the desires of our heart. He wants to make all our plans succeed. He often lays out in front of us exactly what we need, willing us to seek Him.

Satan muddles with our perception, confusing our eyes and causing distress. He lines up the McQueens in front of us while whispering that we haven’t found the right one. Satan plants the seed of dissatisfaction and waters it while prolonging the search.

Busy yourself not with Satan’s lies, but rather God’s promises. Break free of the Lightning McQueen traffic jam in your life and embrace the blessings right in front of you. Live in the joy of your heart’s desires.

 

headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

Read more about Angela on her website https://angelajamison.com/

 

 

 

 

Loved Baby – A Book Review

I have had the extreme pleasure of the opportunity to review a needful resource for so many women.  Sarah Philpott has written a moth long devotional book with the intention of helping moms grieve and cherish their child after pregnancy loss.

Since I did not experience the heartache of losing a child, I have many times grieved with friends and family who have struggled to make their way through their pain.  While leaning on the Lord, Christian women still experience palpable pain and Sarah tenderly encourages women during this time. As all good writers do, she uses her journey of loss and hope to encourage women.  She captured the stories of many other women as well and used their stories of stillbirth, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy losses.

Sarah weaves these stories with Scripture, with advice for soul and self care and prayer in a beautiful gift size book that is delightful to look at as well as read.

I am personally so thankful for this quality resource that can be used to encourage women in a way that I cannot. I have two copies available to giveaway of this excellent resource.  Leave me a comment regarding why you’d like to win on the blog and share this blog post with a friend in order to qualify for the giveaway.  Winner named on Wednesday 11/22/17.